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MICHIGAN FOOD & BEES

BY A. D. P. VAN BUREN

Then came the large "Livingston county plow, " imported from the east. Five dollars an acre was the old price for breaking-up. Long distances were traveled after the day's work was done, to carry the share and coulter to the blacksmith's shop to get them sharpened. Many went six, seven, and sometimes ten miles, to a blacksmith's shop. The old breaking-up plow was an institution in its day, and required a strong arm "to hold it. " A man might be able to "Govern men and guide the State. " who would make a "poor fist of it" in holding a breaking-up plow behind seven or eight yoke of oxen, moving on in all their united strength, among grubs and stones; and around stumps and trees. The driver had a task to do in managing his team and keeping the leaves, grass and debris from clogging up before the coulter. He moved back and forward along the whole line of his team, keeping each ox in its place, while with his long beech whip he touches up the laggard ox, or tips the haunches of the off wheel ox and the head of the nigh one to "haw them in" while passing by a stump or tree. Then he cracks his whip over their heads, and the long team straighten out and bend down to their work, while the bows creaked in the yokes, the connecting chains tighten with a metallic ring, the gauged wheel rumbles and groans at the end of the plow-beam, the sharp projecting coulter cuts open the turf the proper depth, the broad share cleaves the bottom, and the furrow thus loosened, rises against the smooth, flaring mould-board that turns it over with a whirling, rippling sound. Thus the work goes on. "The glittering plow-share cleaves the ground With many a slow, decreasing round. With lifted whip and gee-whoa-haw, He guides his oxen as they draw. "

Michigan


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